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Tattoo once, draw daily: Comic artist turns arm into canvas
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October 26, 2013

How do you prefer your comics? On paper? Online? On a limb perhaps?

If you like your comics on skin, have a look at the inside of artist Patrick Yurick's left forearm. There you'll find a rotating series of comic art that sometimes changes as frequently as twice a day.

Yurick, a lifelong comics enthusiast, had a tattoo of four blank comic panels inked on his arm. In them, he draws new panels with his right hand, a process that typically takes 10-15 minutes. Then he posts pictures on his Tumblr My Arm the Comic.

"I decided on a four-panel format as an homage to ['Calvin and Hobbes' author] Bill Watterson," Yurick tells CNET. "Prior to this project I had worked on a Web comic called 'Hipster Picnic' and I had struggled with page consistency, but with the arm comic tattoo I had to be married to consistency inherently. With that consistency of the tattoo as a framework I knew that the comic would be even more stable as a Web comic than my previous works. "

Together, the arm panels measure about 3 inches tall by 9.5 inches wide. About a year ago, Yurick spotted a Groupon deal offering a $150 tattoo for $50. He had wanted to get inked for some time, but couldn't commit to a design. The Groupon deal gave him just the push he needed.

"Because of the expiration date of the group [deal], I had the amazing opportunity to commit to the tattoo before committing to the design," says the San Diego, Calif., artist and art instructor, who had his arm adorned at San Diego's Blue Tattoo Cafe.

Yurick -- who in addition to "Calvin and Hobbes" cites as comic favorites "Clerks" by Kevin Smith and "The Man in the Ceiling" by Jules Feiffer -- wanted his tattoo to honor his love for comic art. He considered sporting an onomatopoeia or the visage of one of his favorite comic characters, but knew he'd struck geek gold when he and his wife thought up the comic panels.

"It was like lightning, and made so much sense that it seemed obvious," Yurick says.

Eventually, the artist would like to create a couple hundred arm comic strips, taking his 50 favorites and making them into a high-quality picture book.

But for now, the project's largely about daily creativity.
"Having a simple exercise like a preformatted tattoo on my arm," he says, "really is about having fun with art and not thinking too much."

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